Olympia, WA (4-18-14) — Traffic was backed up due to a young man riding a bicycle on Highway 101 near the Shelton exit ramp and Highway 8 who lost an argument, rooted in inattentiveness, with a BMW Friday afternoon. It could have been a fatal mistake, but he was seen sitting up in the back of an emergency vehicle while the driver waited for an investigating WSP trooper to complete his report and the ET’s to remove the crumpled bicycle from the roadside. The rider claimed he was ‘OK’ though he looked shaken.
The woman driver stated, when asked, the bicyclist had swerved in front of her without looking behind and she had no opportunity to avoid the collision. The moral of the story, at least for bicyclists, is clear.
‘Even those of you who talk about the 1%, you don’t really get what’s going on. You’re living in the past.’
by Jon Queally
(4-18-14) In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world “on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth.”
The conclusions that Piketty puts forth in the book, Krugman tells Moyers, are revelatory because they show that even people who are now employing the rhetoric of the “1% versus the 99%” do not fully appreciate the disaster that global wealth inequality is causing.
“We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagine we’re nothing like.”
Actually, a lot of what we know about inequality actually comes from him, because he’s been an invisible presence behind a lot. So when you talk about the 1 percent, you’re actually to a larger extent reflecting his prior work. But what he’s really done now is he said, “Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on. You’re living in the past. You’re living in the ’80s. You think that Gordon Gekko is the future.”
And Gordon Gekko is a bad guy, he’s a predator. But he’s a self-made predator. And right now, what we’re really talking about is we’re talking about Gordon Gekko’s son or daughter. We’re talking about inherited wealth playing an ever-growing role. So he’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth, “patrimonial capitalism.” And he does it with an enormous amount of documentation and it’s a revelation. I mean, even for someone like me, it’s a revelation.
A key component of this ongoing disaster of capitalism is what happens when great wealth—and Piketty puts focus on inherited wealth—grows at rates faster than the overall economy. The mathematical formulation of that idea—which looks like this: r > g—is now gaining popular currency.
“It’s a real ‘eureka’ book,” says Krugman. “You suddenly say, ‘Oh, this is not—the world is not the way I saw it.’ The world in fact has moved on a long way in the last 25 years and not in a direction you’re going to like because we are seeing not only great disparities in income and wealth, but we’re seeing them get entrenched. We’re seeing them become inequalities that will be transferred across generations. We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagine we’re nothing like.”
The prediction embedded in Piketty’s book is that even as inequality has been on a steady rise for the last several decades, the truth is: we ain’t seen nothing yet.
As we go forward, according to Krugman, Piketty’s thesis says that even though inequality is already a huge problem, it’s going to get even worse. “Unless something gets better,” he explains, “we’re going to look back nostalgically on the early 21st century when you could still at least have the pretense that the wealthy actually earned their wealth. And, you know, by the year 2030, it’ll all be inherited.”
Writing about his new book at The Nation on Friday, the Economic Policy Institute’s Jeff Faux says that though Piketty “is certainly not the first economist to criticize inherited wealth” his “credentials and exhaustive attention to statistical detail make him harder for the pundits and policy elites that protect the plutocracy to dismiss.”
Faux concludes what Piketty has re-discovered, and re-stated for a modern audience, is what Marx himself and others long ago realized—that capitalism “is not only unfair, it is relentlessly and dynamically unfair.”
As a point of order, however, it seems noteworthy that Piketty is quite prepared to go even further. In an interview last week in Europe, Piketty didn’t stop at saying capitalism was unfair, but stated: “I have proved that under the present circumstances capitalism simply cannot work.”
And as Krugman explains to Moyers, the implications of a world dominated by the super-wealthy for regular working people is profound. “When you have a few people who are so wealthy that they can effectively buy the political system, the political system is going to tend to serve their interests,” he said.
Olympia, WA (4-17-14) – WAmend is part of a nationwide organization set on overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United equating money in unlimited amounts to ‘free speech’. The ruling currently allows corporations, et ux, to contribute unlimited amounts to their favorite politician/candidate…sometimes contributing to BOTH in a transparent bid to buy access regardless of who wins at the ballot box.
The local arm of the movement to amend the U.S. Constitution, stripping said corporations of their ability to effectively buy elections/politicians gathers on a regular basis in the Thurston County building meeting room to discuss strategies on how to gain enough signatures (300,000) to put Washington State on the map of the necessary 3/4ths of the States needed to amend the Constitution with respect to this issue of the legal ‘personhood’ of corporations when it comes to ‘free $peech’.
Keeping America Beautiful
Volunteers for gathering signatures on the petition are needed, businesses are being approached to display the document where customers can find and sign them. Community activists are tabling at public events and on the streets/business parking lots in an effort to allow citizens to take back the democratic/political process in America from the deep pockets that diminish the One Man:One Vote principle we hold dear. Given that money is the “mother’s milk of politics”, an unlimited amount of it predictably corrupts the political and democratic process.
Those who attended the night’s meeting were a mixed group of all ages and backgrounds including at least one British National who has resided in America these past 22 years. It was a lively group, full of commitment and a love for what this country has to offer. They welcome anyone genuinely interested in participating. The main organizer is Mike who can be contacted at: email@example.com
Olympia, WA @ TESC (4-14-14) – The ‘Town Hall’ meeting called by Professor Peter Bohmer and several supporting campus sanctioned student organizations proved to be anti-climactic. Fewer than 2 dozen attended, possibly closer to 15, among which were this reporter, Ray (student editor of TESC’s Cooper Point Journal), one faculty member, and an advocate of the now settled lawsuit against the City of Olympia alleging the municipality engaged in illegal political profiling of area dissidents.
ACAP member posing for photographer in public ‘Town Hall’ meeting @ TESC
Ray takes photos during ‘Town Hall’ meeting @ TESC.
The ‘rules’ of the meeting were written on the chalk board, the first short presentation of the ‘problem’ discussed the John Towery lawsuit where a government agent successfully sought confidences from a coalition of local anti-war activists. The Fort Lewis military command formally admitted in a lawsuit brought against them in federal court that Mr. Towery had, indeed, been acting as their agent. The first speaker attempted to correlate that as an effort to ‘spy’ on Evergreen students and criticized what he claimed to be dissembling from TESC campus police when they denied sharing information they acquired about student dissidents with other government law enforcement agencies.
professor Peter Bohmer
The next speaker was professor Peter Bohmer, who laid out a 4-point proposal seeking to require the school’s administration to discipline anyone found to be sharing information gleaned from observing students on campus and their activities/associates.
Following these two speakers, the floor was thrown open to questions. None (at least initially) were forthcoming. This reporter asked to address the small group and they consented. His remarks were limited to about 3 minutes. This was later expanded to 7 minutes out of consideration for the small number of attendees and few questions. One faculty member expressed concern over being being monitored on campus, despite being a State employee. Other ‘liberal’ faculty members were curiously absent.
Attendees were cautioned during the 3-minute comment to delineate between academic freedom and an expectation of privacy on a public tax supported college campus–especially in public venues or at public events. It was pointed out how instructors were State employees who had no more right to privacy than any other employee while at their workplace–i.e. none! Professor Peter Bohmer knows he is under close scrutiny by government investigators, thus has attempted to conflate academic freedom with privacy in an effort to use the former as a shield against investigation and monitoring his Marxist driven political activities–many involving ‘direct action’/civil disobedience. e.g. block or shutting down Port of Olympia functions and attempts to prevent or interfere with troop movements between Fort Lewis and the Port of Olympia.
The lawsuit complaining of government attempts to monitor said activities has not, to date, gained much traction in federal court. Serious doubts exist as to whether it will succeed. Larry Hildes, a member of the National Lawers Guild, has been the attorney of record for the plaintiffs. Federal Judge Ben Settle, a local attorney from the Shelton area before being appointed to the bench, has presided over the case which is proceeding in the federal courtroom in Tacoma.
As always, the event reflected TESC culture remains schizoid/paradoxical about 1st Amendment principles such as academic freedom, freedom of the press, rights (or NOT) to privacy in public forums, photography, and a firmly grounded understanding of where the boundaries lie without conflating them. It remains hostile to universal application of 1st Amendment principles involving the press, preferring to rely on vague/fuzzy notions of what’s ‘polite’ rather than the letter of the law. The school appears to have many students, staff, and faculty who lack the grasp of a high school civics class student in these matters–a college with a master’s in public administration degree curriculum where graduates will be assuming roles as judges, public officials and administrators, even leaders in the business community will leave the school dangerously ill informed, but powerful. More Town Meetings are in order, but to address the failure of this public institution to adequately educate its charges.
TESC Faculty member concerned about being monitored
What: 6-9 PM: Grand Strategies! This will be an awesome event that every activist and organizer will learn a lot from! The Backbone Campaign‘s Bill Moyer is coming to Olympia!
Bill Moyer is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Backbone Campaign. Bill has been an activist for over 30 years and a percussionist for more. These intersecting paths in social movements and the arts generate a unique set of skills and insights that he employs in his movement building work. Bill’s Artful Activism takes him around the country providing trainings for activists and organizers, campaign design for organizations, and strategic advice and tactical support for actions. Through these travels Bill has met many talented people whose insights he weaves into his own analysis and attempts to share their lessons with others. Yet, his home community of Vashon Island, WA is the local laboratory and foundation for his and all of Backbone Campaign’s efforts, and where he shares a wooded sanctuary with his wife Esther and daughter Aziza.
What: Backbone Campaign believes (and our 10 years experience of movement-building work underscores this belief) that Anti-Oppression skills, practices, and framework are essential for bringing about the thriving and economically and environmentally just communities we all yearn for. The weekend of April 26th & 27th we are partnering with the awesome ecofeminist and anti-oppression co-op training group the Canopy Collective (http://thecanopycollective.org/) to make some of these phenomenal workshops available. Media Island, Olympia Movement for Justice & Peace, the Alliance For Global Justice and RAIN are cosponsoring to bring these workshops to Olympia. There will be an hour break for lunch at 1pm. Below are some of the topics that might be covered.
Series in Liberation and Ending Oppressions
All workshops involve a mix of facilitated discussion in large and small groups (as appropriate to the gathering), brief lecture/presentation, interactive hands-on activities that would enhance learning concepts and personalize the materials to the participants.
We are the ones we’ve been looking for:
How do we focus on the goodness of our planet and each other in our daily lives, and still invest life energy into ending oppressions?
“Un mundo endonde quepan muchos mundos” – Reclaiming cultures and heritages:
This workshop acknowledges the reality that everyone’s heritage is good. It goes in depth into what it takes to create a world where many worlds fit by rebuilding the fabric of our communities by strengthening our own understandings of the goodness of our cultures and heritages.
Introduction to structural oppression and privilege:
Common definitions of oppression, privilege, and liberation. Explores how oppression and privilege work on individual and structural levels. General overview, rather than tackling particular oppressions in depth.
How Oppression Works and Strategies of Healing & Resistance (2-parts)
Focused on how settler colonialism, hetero-patriarchy, and white supremacy (what many people call racism) function in our society to uphold capitalism (class oppression) and imperialism and strategies for challenging these from the point of view of different struggles.
Building an Eco-feminist World
Fundamental ideas from ecofeminism and introduction to strategies for base building for local social justice work.
Practicing Participatory Democracy
In the format of one particular practice, present a short history of different practices of participatory democracy, and a demonstration based on the theme/topic that makes the most sense for the participants.
Sharing Allie Skills and Learnings
Beginning with the understanding that alliance is not an identity, but rather a series of thoughtful actions to end oppression, this workshop shares basic skills towards becoming an ally to individuals and communities who are targeted by oppressions.
Strategies for Building Solidarity (DIGNITY – Beyond Solidarity)
More advanced workshop following “Sharing Allie Skills and Learnings”, with strategies to address some barriers to building respectful alliances and successful joint actions.
Kristian Williams is the author, most recently, of Hurt: Notes on Torture in a Modern Democracy (Microcosm, 2012). His first book, Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, was initially published in 2004, and has been re-released by South End. His work on policing and torture has also appeared in Counterpunch, New Politics, In These Times, and in the collection Confrontations (Tarantula Publishing, 2007).
In addition to researching state violence, Williams also frequently writes about comics and cartooning. He’s discussed comics in some surprising places, including the L.A. Daily Journal and the Columbia Journalism Review. He is presently at work on a book about Oscar Wilde and anarchism.
Olympia, WA @ TESC (4-10-14) – ‘Brad’ of ‘Abolish Cops And Prisons’ (ACAP), Evergreen’s on campus student organization hosting the event, introduced Mr. Williams, a prolific author who has published a number of works regarding social justice and how the state is structured to inhibit/prevent the realization of it.
As always, Brad warned the group attending the presentation about the presence of the ‘Press’ in their midst including the fact their utterances were likely being recorded.
Kristian Williams’ lecture was relatively short, but intense and well researched. He gave the impression of a man who had made a Herculean effort to gather a mountain of facts all supporting his claim that we live in a virtual police state of total surveillance in America today. This may be old news in the wake of Snowden’s revelations, but Williams outlined the modern history of the problem dating back to the halcyon days of J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO and Senator McCarthy.
Surprisingly, Mr. Williams did not share the paranoia of Northwest area lifestyle (A)narchists regarding the press collaborating with their government nemesis. Williams opined this was old school and possibly no longer necessary given the raft of surveillance technology ubiquitous within our modern communication technology. Snowden, of course, underscored this point. Why hire a stooge to listen to barroom banter when you can assign a machine to listen to and record phone calls? Once it became possible, it became necessary.
President Bush once made this point as he publicly cozied up to and defended torture: “We HAD to know what they were thinking!” In the end, when you’ve got all those knives and forks, we’re finding out, you just HAVE to cut something!
Mr. Williams spent the majority of his allotted 2-hours in TESC’s Lecture Hall 2 fielding and answering questions from his audience. Even so, the room had mostly emptied by 20 before the hour. He remained to autograph some of the books purchased by listeners. He was articulate, persuasive, and extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter…in short, an intellectual force to be reckoned with.
The adviser to the student run Cooper Point Journal on campus newspaper arrived, greeted this reporter, and sat next to him throughout the lecture. The reporter’s wife was not nearly so loyal and left the presentation early. It was a good lecture, precise, and covering the subject at hand.
Mr. Williams’ books, particularly his recently published HURT are to be recommended. They’re very reasonably priced and a must read for any serious activist interested in becoming knowledgeable about the roots of the current political structure undermining the principles of social justice.
Kristian Williams is a man and critic for our times, a patriot in the old school sense as were our founding fathers when confronted with tyranny and despotism. Take the opportunity to read/hear him before the state decides it can no longer abide him.
The lecture can be heard in the video clips included below along with the extensive Q&A session with the students that followed.
“…It was good to see Williams not reverting to the familiar arguments on everything; tying in torture with police and the U.S. prison system really is quite interesting. However, the apex of Williams’s argument is that getting rid of the apparatuses that allow abuse and torture and working towards an anarchist system is what would solve this despicable practice. I wondered who would be reading this beyond people who already agreed with the premise and conclusions. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a very worthwhile topic to discuss, but this discussion needs to move from beyond anarchist circles and into some kind of action. How is that done? Beats me. I just review stuff.”
(full of verbal pauses by Mr. Williams, who may need a speech coach, but compelling)
What happens when the techniques of counterinsurgency, developed to squash small skirmishes and guerrilla wars on the border of Empire, blend into the state’s apparatus for domestic policing? In “Life During Wartime,” writers examine the application of domestic counterinsurgency tactics within the United States, and seek to equip the left with a more nuanced understanding of state repression – and how to fight back.
Bill Resnick talks with Kristian Williams, Portland-resident and renknown scholar of policing and police history, about the murder of Treyvon Martin. Kristian re-caps the case and those like it, but also comments on the nature of the “stand your ground” laws that have been invoked to shield George Zimmerman. He contends that simply attacking those laws misses deeper problems, namely how these laws arise out of already racialized understandings of crime, law and order. They end on a note about this culture of fear, which Kristian thinks we can overcome if we see that people’s needs are met, so they don’t feel there are “others” out there trying to take them.
The function of police in the U.S. has always been to protect the property and status of the ruling elite (aka the 1%), according to Kristian William’s important book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. Here he talks with the Old Mole’s Bill Resnick about how his analysis of policing relates to how police have handled the Occupy movement.
Why is violence such a feature of police work? Kristian Williams is the author of two books on this topic, including Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. Williams examines the populations most often subjected to police abuse and the forms that abuse takes, delving into the role of police brutality in repressing political dissent and in preserving existing structures of inequality. Here he talks with the Old Mole’s Bill Resnick. On next week’s Old Mole (Jan. 4), the conversation will continue, focusing on what police work would be like in a better world.
Kristian Williams discusses the history and use of torture by the U.S. military and police as a tool for crushing dissent, controlling minorities/dissidents, and terrifying the population into compliance with its protocols to indemnify the most wealthy and comfortable.
Williams says, “The talk I gave in Portland about the cops and the Occupy movement was videotaped and is online in a couple different versions. Here’s one.
And I’ve recently written reviews of two books examining developments in counterinsurgency and security theory. One looks at David Price’s Weaponizing Anthropology. The other assesses the collection Anti-Security.
subMedia.TV’s final report from the G20 rebellions in three parts 1. Who are we? “Justice for our communities” action on June 25th.2. Go forth o pioneers. the stimulator goes inside the riot that caused much damage to the corporate elites and embarrassed the security establishment on saturday June 26 in Toronto3. We started the riot. Debunking the “agent provocateur” and “the cops let it happen” conspiracy theories. Kristian Williams an expert on police tactics during mass demonstrations speaks about the state’s monopoly of power. . . . . . .
(from www.theportlandalliance.org) Local police reform activist and author Kristian Williams has produced a new work (American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination) looking at how our society uses torture to control us. American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination explores the dynamic created by imperialism in cultivates a society in which torture becomes an acceptable tool of domination abroad and at home. Dave Mazza recently spoke with Kristian about his latest work.
The Author Outlines a Course for Creating a World Without Police.
by Justin Taylor Our Enemies in Blue (Soft Skull 2004) is a sweeping, vitriolic work of scholarship. As studied as it is incendiary (100 pages of footnotes and bibliography make this perfectly clear), Kristian Williams opens with “a call for skepticism.” He urges his readers to critically re-assess the discourse that surrounds the institution of police: their purported role in society, patterns and trends in police brutality, the historical use of police against organized labor, and so on. Our Enemies in Blue is a comprehensive, controversial history of policing; as well it is a theory-meets-practice study of power relations and models of resistance. I went to Portland, Oregon’s economically depressed north side to see Williams speak to a standing-room only crowd of scruffy unwashed punks, older folks from the community, and even some children. A skinny, bookish guy with wire-frame glasses and a set-your-watch haircut, he was the last person in the room I expected to hear speak about active resistance and the importance of Copwatch. He spoke for about an hour, first reading from his book and then taking questions. Always, the focus of the talk was directed toward strategies of survival and a cop-free vision of the future. In no uncertain terms, Williams was arguing not just for an end to police violence, but an end to policing. Later, I had the opportunity to talk to Williams about his book, his philosophy, and how punk was what got him thinking. ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN PUNK PLANET #69 (SEPT/OCT 2005)
Policing public space—with deadly results—in Portland, Ore.
On June 8, the Justice Department announced a civil rights investigation to see if police officers in Portland, Ore., were engaged in a “pattern or practice” of using excessive force against the mentally ill. The investigation comes after several incidents in which police shot people in psychological crisis.
The problems with the mental health system are real enough, but this focus may obscure other dynamics propelling police violence–specifically, those relating to race and class.
Two high-profile cases in Portland help illustrate the point.
Olympia, WA @ TESC (4-9-14) – The event kicked off with a faculty adviser addressing the audience like they were junior high school developmentally challenged remedial education students, warning them a member of press was there and how they were not required to speak/interview with a reporter. This has been the typical opening (or worse) made at each ACAP sponsored public event on the Evergreen campus this month. It might be appropriate for a grade school class, but is curiously paternalistic for a group of young adult college students at the much ballyhooed liberal arts campus, The Evergreen State College, home to the Northwest’s very own community of lifestyle (A)narchists.
Nanny Professor warns TESC students of the Press
Growth of the Prison-Industrial Complex
Once Troy’s Sister, Kimberly Davis, and Jen Marlowe began to speak, the event took on a more polished professional nuanced tone. The women were easily able to overcome a forum known for its knee-jerk liberal propensities and present a compelling case for abolishing the death penalty…a commitment Troy sought from them as his last request before his light was snuffed out with the drugs Georgia had purchased on the black market.
Kimberly revealed, as a result, it took Troy’s heart 8 hours to stop beating during the execution. At one point, despite having been on the lecture circuit for a while, she began to tear up as she recounted the impact the capital punishment had on her family. She astutely distanced herself from insisting on having the listeners agree on her brother’s innocence, only that her family was convinced of it and most analysts agreed there was reasonable doubt as to his guilt. In fact, others later denied their trial testimony implicating Troy and at least one individual, despite confessing to the crime, was never held accountable for the murder of a police officer (the victim in Troy’s case), nor was it enough to bring Troy a new trial while he waited on Georgia’s death row.
Troy’s family put together a professionally polished documentary calling into question the eye witness testimony identifying the shooter. The video clearly revealed how the distance between the witness and where the witness placed the shooter was too great to be recognizable. Troy’s trial attorney did not adequately investigate the alleged facts surrounding the case and the appellate attorney set back the condemned man’s mother over $200,000, requiring her to mortgage her home a 2nd time–a debt that still has not been discharged. As always, the poor die sooner, both inside court venues and outside hospitals. Troy’s mother had to pay his attorney extortionist amounts to get the lawyer to even visit her son while he was on death row.
Kimberly focused, instead, on the human impact of an archaic barbaric form of retribution and incredible suffering. This suffering is so intense a great many condemned prisoners actually become clinically insane before they are executed. Even so, some find the actual mode of execution (lethal injection) too tame for their taste. All manner of more shocking colorful methods of torture have been proposed as alternatives by these would be merchants of death.
For the actual executioner who pulls the switch or depresses the plunger unleashing the poisons intended to course through the veins of the condemned, they are typically paid all of about $150 per person they send to meet their Maker. Their identities are a closely guarded secret, a paradox in itself for an act the state so vigorously defends as legitimate/just. If the execution is just, why doesn’t the executioner pose for pictures with the condemned? The fact is, people intuitively understand the premeditated taking of human life when the perpetrator can as easily be kept from ever harming anyone again, is morally wrong. Moreover, many grasp the punishment we visit on others is more about us than them.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, while we can release the innocent unjustly sentenced to prison, we cannot free the innocent from the grave after being executed. The numbers of unjustly condemned men released from death row in the U.S. ranges in the hundreds while the numbers of actually innocent defendants sent to prison numbers in the ten’s of thousands.
Troy Davis’ Sister, Kimberly
The following videos lay out a compelling case of a miscarriage of justice all too common in America’s system of jurisprudence. Benjamin Franklin once opined, “The monarchists would hide in the judiciary.” Today, as then, the idea of sovereign immunity (The king can do no wrong) prevails. Those of us not protected under the aegis of divine right continue to suffer the fate of serfs and peasants…we get about as much justice as we can afford.
Olympia, WA @ TESC (4-8-14) – Mr. King had uncommon grace, poise, insight and confidence for a man who has struggled to survive, let alone one who spent decades in solitary confinement being tortured with sensory deprivation and unspeakable conditions by Louisiana, courtesy of the Angola State Prison. He came to accept he was IN prison over the years, but vowed never to let prison IN him! Still, he acknowledged he’d been scarred. As he observed, “You can’t be dipped in a cesspool without smelling after you get out.”
Pia w/Robert King, a freed prisoner from Angola, founder of its Black Panther Party, and surviving member of the Angola 3